I went to work Friday morning optimistic that I’d be taking advantage of our summer hours and heading home about 12:30. I finally left at 3:00, disappointed that the long afternoon of writing I’d been looking forward to had evaporated, and I decided to just relax. Had a too-late lunch while watching a few episodes of Mr. Show. Then got a call from my wife . . . the kid had been helping move some boxes and a bungie cord came undone and whipped around and hit her in the eye. The nurse hotline had recommended we take her to urgent care to get it checked out. So we go to the urgent care in our neighborhood.

We walk into a nearly empty waiting area and someone hands us a clipboard of paperwork and says, “We’ll see her at six.” I look at the clock on the wall again, which says 5:30. Now, sure, it’s not an ER, but we’ve walked in with our daughter holding a hand over her eye and they haven’t even asked what happened, they just tell us it will be a half hour. “That doesn’t sound very urgent,” I say. Yeah, I’m the cranky sarcastic dad in these situations. I’m the one most likely to pull a Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment. So my attitude gets the explanation that should have been given in the introduction: they open the doors at 5:30, but they don’t start seeing people until 6, those are the hours. Sandra explains that the person who referred us to them didn’t mention that, trying to smooth over my instinctual annoyance at bureaucratic BS when Debra Winger is in pain. Or, in this case, my own daughter. Sandra fills out the papers and when she turns them in she explains what happened and then they say, “OK, something like that we’ll look at her right away.” Now, I’m not a doctor, but maybe asking what happened up front is a better procedure. Like when the girl comes in the door holding a hand over her eye.

So we get in a room, the nurse takes a cursory look, asks a few questions, leaves the room to confer with a doctor–or a Magic 8 Ball as we’ll soon have reason to consider–then comes back and tells us we have to go to the ER because they don’t have the right equipment to examine her: a slit lamp. If you’ll pardon a slight digression, who the hell named something used to closely examine an eye a “slit lamp”? Someone just got whacked in the eye and you’re telling them you need to use a slit lamp on them. You might as well say “the slicey-dicey thing.” Slit lamp. You’ve got to be shitting me. It’s like they got Wes Craven to name it. Just off the top of my head, how about “narrow-aperture lamp”? Okay, end digression.

Then we’re off to the ER. Some more paperwork, more waiting, then the doctor arrives. She starts looking at Ella’s eye with the regular bright look-in-your-eye thing, the very same item that was on the wall at urgent care that was never used because the doctor couldn’t be bothered to haul his or her ass into the room to see a patient. She puts a drop of dye in Ella’s eye, looks some more, and diagnoses the issue right there (without the rotating-razors-of-death lamp) and also expresses her disdain that urgent care didn’t take the time to do this test. Anyway, minor scratch on the white of her eye, some antibiotics to avoid infection, we’re good to go. We get home after 9. Well, that was our Friday night out. Wife and kid soon go to bed, I decide to watch a schlocky seventies horror movie courtesy of streaming Netflix: The Incredible Melting Man. It’s a nonsensical movie on a variety of levels, but the gooey special effects by Rick Baker have a certain entertainment value for people who like people who are melting. And, really, who doesn’t? It had been a long week, however, and I was too tired to make it through the thing. I go to bed looking forward to a long sleep. 

But Sandra had to work Saturday. She got up at 6:30 and then I couldn’t get back to sleep. So at 7 a.m. on Saturday I’m at my computer with a cup of tea watching a dude’s skin melt. (Strangely, that’s the second time in my life I’ve used that sentence, but I’m not allowed to discuss the first time because it’s a matter of national security.) Melting completed, I got into the writing I’d been hoping to do on Friday. Ended up writing nearly all day, finally completing a story that’s due to the editor on the 31st. Leaves me a couple days to polish and tweak, then it’s off.

Writing done, I had just enough time to get ready and then we got together with friends for pizza and wine. Actually, the wine was all for me, because they were having margaritas, which suited me just fine. The night was a bit of a celebration, as our friend Susan Koefod has just had her first novel published, a mystery called Washed Up. So, pizza, wine, brownie bites for dessert, wine, and some signed books wrapped up a lovely evening. And wine.

Sunday morning we were off to the Science Museum of Minnesota for the special King Tut exhibit. It’s only there one more week. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, it’s worth seeing, even though it turns out mummies have never actually come back to life. That was a bit of a downer, I thought, but don’t let that stop you. They’re fascinating even though still dead. And the movie in the omnitheater about mummies was narrated by Christopher Lee. Get it? He played a mummy in the 1959 Hammer film The Mummy. And the audio tour was narrated by Harrison Ford. Indy! We didn’t buy any King Tut merch, which seemed kind of odd anyway. A King Tut shot glass? That’s not the kind of immortality he was hoping for. Ella opted for some little cake molds that put the impression of a fossil dinosaur head into the cake. Instead of cupcakes, we’re first trying them with Jell-O.

That about wraps it up. Did a number of chores in the afternoon, and I printed out the story from Saturday so I can read it tomorrow on my bus ride. I’ve already put a red pen in my bag so I can mark up the manuscript. Monday morning, back to the day job.

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